Friday, April 30, 2004

Only Human After All

If you are faithful to my blog, if you are loyal and true, you will remember that I am often transformed into a weepy mess (okay, maybe I didn't tell you that part. But now you know) by the lyrics that Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz pulls out of his oddly-shaped head. I've always had a romanticized version of Adam (that's what I call him: Adam) sitting around in ratty jeans and a rumpled t-shirt that says something like "SUCK," smoking, sipping absinthe, pining over flamenco dancers, missing women named Anna, and writing in his journals with a pen that leaks ink and leaves behind what appears to be flowering drops of blood.

Which is why I never should have started reading his blog. He listens to hip-hop to get ready for his shows. He's a huge fan of women's college sports. He thinks Australia is god's country. His best friend is actress Mary Louise Parker.

All that is perfectly fine. What I didn't need to know is that he's friends with Mandy Moore, whom he refers to affectionately—and in my books almost unforgiveably—as "Mandymoo." Or that he frequently reams out his fans with orders to "go make poo" (okay, that's pretty funny) and he gets unbelievably pissy when they try to figure out what he really meant when he wrote a song about a woman who borrows a yellow hat that she never returns. "Feel free to take things literally," he sniffs. "I'm not really that symbolic all the time."

So it turns out Adam—with his hissy fits and glamour pals and scathing condescension—is only human. That's fine by me. I just hope Seal (awwww...look at him when he was a kid) never starts a blog.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Nick Joaquin 1917-2004

Philippine National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin has passed away. Ian has set up a lovely tribute right here.

Visit, read, honor his work.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Broadway Babies

Okay, maybe this West Side Story obsession has gone too far. The following exchange took place while Risa and Vida played some improvised game involving a bowl, one piece of blue string, several small dolls, and a plastic Easter egg (it was yellow, in case that's significant):

Vida: Hey, Risa—I'll get a terrace apartment...

Risa: Better get rid of your accent!

Vida: I think I go back to San Juan...

Risa: I know a boat you can get on!

Vida: Ha-ha!

Risa: Bye-bye!

Vida: I have my own washing machine...

Risa: What will you have though to keep clean?


A few minutes later:

Me: (entering the room) Hi you guys.

Them: Hi Mom.

Me: Hey—I'll get a terrace apartment...

Them: (blank stares)

Me: (heavy sigh) Okay, have fun. I'll be downstairs.

Dang! I thought I had at least ten years to go before they mastered the popular "Make-Mom-Feel-Like-a-Dork" technique. Momming rocks, my people. But it's also a daily lesson in humility.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Blog Down! Blog Down!

The Delfino family (of which I am a fine and upstanding member) maintains one occasionally updated blog and one rollicking, hilarious, and often times deeply disturbing message board in which every thread somehow leads to a detailed explanation of how, exactly, someone last ended up eating chicharron bulaklak at Ongpin.

Only 4 out of our 76 registered users ever write for the blog, so it was with much satisfaction that I informed my cousin Luj—mighty webmaster and inventor of our now famed Duende of the Month contest—that I had fresh! hot! excellent! content ready to go. My entry has everything: young love, unabashed romance, closely guarded family secrets, excerpts from personal letters. It's crazy good stuff.'s been burning a hole in my iBook for weeks now as Luj struggles to find a new blog host who will kindly allow us to keep our domain name (or something like that. i'm no geek, after all...). Even though Luj begged me not to post it here, I really should. Especially since he refers to me—without a trace of irony, I might add—as Ate Smarty Pants.

He's lucky that blood is thicker than blog.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Pressure Point

Did you know that there is a spot on your arm—your forearm to be, you know, exact—that when correctly dealt with will produce a feeling that brilliantly traverses the line between pleasure and pain? It's sort of like listening to 80s music (hiya Miz Barbara "I-Kneel-at-the-Altar-of-Kajagoogoo" Jane!) for an entire afternoon. Or like watching a Keanu Reeves movie.

Don't be shy, my people. Get to know your forearm.

Friday, April 23, 2004


"I present you with this crown." So said Risa early this morning while I sipped my Diet Pepsi, tried to shake off my sleepies (what a night, my people, what a night), and sent e-mail to the ones I love.

It was placed in the center of a basket that she had meticulously lined with her vast collection of plastic barrettes (birds, dragonflies, bears, like that). It's her best crown, a delicate silver and pearl number that my brother gave to her on her last birthday. "Thanks, Ri," I said. I slipped it onto my head and promptly forgot it was there. She twirled out of the kitchen and back to Sesame Street.

I mention this because just now I walked past a mirror, caught sight of myself and had to smile. Maybe it was the crown (maybe not), but I coulda sworn I was glowing (the preening Chatelaine, who reigns in Galatea, no doubt understands).

So, look out. I'm Queen for a Day.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Gym Tragedy

The problem with forgetting to bring your iPod to the gym is that you then have to slog through your workout feeling more pain than you would if you had, say, The Fugees' How Many Mics (trivial aside: you know they mention Seal in that song, right? You knew that, didn't you?) to warm up with, Prince's Diamonds and Pearls album to get you through the middle, and The Counting Crows' American Girls ('American girls are all feathers and cream/coming to bed/so edible') to bring you home.

Instead, you are bereft. Instead, you are forced to realize that regardless of what day or time you go to the gym, there is always that one guy who looks like he bought his bike shorts in the girls department at JCPenney. And there is always that one guy in the MC Hammer (please don't hurt me!) pants who likes to walk around saying, "What was your name again?" to unsuspecting women.

There's a lesson in this. I'm sure of it. And after I'm done sticking a red hot poker in my eyes, I'll think of it.

Monday, April 19, 2004

He Came, He Sang, He Conquered

Seal at the Warfield tonight.


Okay, wait. Here's some: in the two hours that he played, I saw many, many people lose and find and then lose their religion again. That's all.

Sunday, April 18, 2004


For the past week or so I have googled the words "beckham loos spice" several times a day to find the freshest, most horrifyingly salacious (and therefore riveting) gossip on David Beckham's extramarital affairs.


I have no idea. I don't care for soccer (apologies to the football-loving members of mi familia), white men who sport cornrows, or white men who dress in white leather to match the white leather outfits of their unnaturally thin wives. And I was not a fan of the Spice Girls, and I do not think "Posh" is a cute nickname. (And while I'm at it, I may as well admit that I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam I Am) And yet I now faithfully check the Beckham coverage at this Indian paper for the latest breaking news.

I feel better now. After all, they say the first step on the road to recovery is to admit you have a problem.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Come Again Again?

Are these two things a solid match or what:

1) Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas


2) An organization (to remain nameless here) comprised entirely of educated Filipinas who hold professional positions etc., etc.

Well, I thought so. Which is why I wrote and asked them if they'd like to host a reading for Going Home. My message included complete details about the anthology, as well as a link if they needed to know more. I received a prompt reply asking me to propose how—in 100 words or less—such a reading would be consistent with the organization's focus on (among other things) Filipina women's issues.

I somehow managed to restrain myself from writing a one word proposal that said, "Duh." I'm sure this is a quality organization; I'm not trying to be (very) disrespectful. I'm just saying that, you know, maybe bureaucracy and protocol or whatever aren't really necessary in this case.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

More Fun With Shrimp Heads

My Auntie Linda wrote to tell me that my blog reminds her of when she had small kids underfoot. I felt immediately unworthy, of course, because she had five kids. Her eldest, my Ate Cristy, once told me that if you flick the light switch on and off over and over again, it will call the devil into the room. I still believe it.

Auntie Linda also reports that she uses shrimp heads to fertilize roses. "Watch them grow into premium hybrids!" she says. She seems to have intuited (is that a word? it looks vaguely obscene) that I felt exceedingly guilty throwing those shrimp heads out. In fact, I could swear that my late Lola Naty was frowning at my lack of domestic ingenuity. Thank God for aunties.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Parenting Books Neglect to Mention

How many chocolate Easter eggs can a 2-year old eat before a) she collapses on the floor and can only be revived when someone screams "Dora the Explorer is on!" or b) her eyes roll back in her head and she starts speaking coherently in a language other than her own?

We'll soon find out, my friends. We'll soon find out...

Monday, April 12, 2004

Come Again?

One of the churches in my neighborhood—I think it's a United Methodist Church—has one of those message boards that delivers what I imagine are supposed to be thought-provoking one-liners. Usually it's something not too terribly clever like "Here Comes the Son!"

I passed the church again today on my way home from Safeway, and the new message is, "What the caterpillar sees as the ending, God sees as the butterfly!"

What? What does that mean? I'm so annoyed now.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Me Vs. The Shrimp

I'm making dinner for my sister-in-law and two of her daughters tonight, and since my parents came over yesterday from the city to monstersit, I asked them to swing by Ranch 99 on the way to pick up some medium-size shrimp. They are for what I like to call my Ooh!-and-Aah! Salad.

Such shrimp-ly bounty would cost $12.99 at my local Mollie Stone's, whereas at Ranch 99 they practically give it to you as a parting gift. However, if the shrimp come from Ranch 99 they still have their heads on. I do not need shrimp heads for my Ooh!-and-Aah! Salad.

Pause for an annoying aside. Have you heard the Ranch 99 tagline?: "Ranch 99. For 100, we try harder!" Is that not hilarious? Now back to my originally scheduled program.

And so it came to pass that I stood at my kitchen sink beheading and deveining shrimp for an hour while my daughters ran figure-eights between my legs. They are too big to run figure-eights through my legs, so I spent most of the hour on my tip-toes in a demi-plié so as to avoid injury to my nether regions. I think I can safely count that as one of my workouts for the week.

Have you ever pulled the head off an uncooked shrimp? The brains ooze out all yellowish-pinkish-reddish. If you pull the head off just so, you'll expose the very top of one of the veins, which you can then pull right out. The other vein isn't so deep, and it's easy to coax it out gently with the tip of a knife.

When I was finished, the sink was littered with shrimp heads, splattered with shrimp brains and laced with shrimp bodily waste. It looked like I'd committed some unspeakable crime. Which—if you are a shrimp or a friend of shrimps—I suppose I did.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Hang It Up, Hung

At first I didn't care, but now I'm starting to agree with Emil Guillermo. For the love of God, already.

Tell you what. Let's all climb back into our little time machines and turn the dial to 1997 when Americans caught sight and sound of a Filipino Prince Charming.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Amusing Link o' the Day

My uncle is some huge pop star in Hong Kong, which is a fact that cracks me up. His father—also a musician—is my Lola's baby brother, and his mother is a Chinese opera star (I have a feeling this is a mix of fact and family fiction; bear with me). I only met him once when I was about thirteen years old, and I must say he had some supahstah quality going on even back then because I distinctly recall that all I could do was cower in a corner and stare at him and his equally fab-oo older brother.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Soothing the Savage Mom

To acknowledge the day of my auspicious (or should that be 'suspicious?') birth, the spousal unit took all three children in hand and packed me off to this here day spa, where I spent five hours mostly nekkid while people with random European accents touched me all over the place and tried to make me relax.

Relaxation, it turns out, is hard work. In fact, after all the hullabaloo was through, I had to retreat to the spa's relaxation room for a lengthy nap. My favorite part of the day was when they plopped me in a frothy bath for half an hour and turned the jets on full throttle. I haven't had a bath (yes, I've showered; don't get smart with me) in more than 5 years, so...well, so. I returned home a much nicer person than when I left.

And then tonight my Auntie Yvonne invited everyone over and cooked birthday dinner for me: pork tonkatsu, Vietnamese-style cold rice noodles with chicken and whatnot, and catfish stuffed with tofu and steamed with black beans and green onion.

I'm feeling the love, people. Feeling the love. But...Miz Barbara Jane is not. Truth be told, she's irate. And for good reason.

Friday, April 02, 2004

What's It All About, Alpie?

In the new issue of Our Own Voice, my online writing group buddy Nadine Sarreal ponders what it means, exactly, to be Filipino.

It remains a puzzlement. On my first visit to the Philippines at age fourteen, some exceedingly polite Filipino boys asked me "what I was." Blushing and confused by the question (the permanent state, it seems, for most fourteen-year-old females), I told them I was Filipino. Then it was their turn to be confused. They retreated gently from the obviously mentally deficient and out-of-place girl with the feathered hair.